I’ll show you my brass pineapples if you show me yours…

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Come on people, get your mind out of the gutter.  I’m actually talking about my brass pineapples. 

It’s no surprise that I hopped on this trend given that 1. It includes brass, and 2. Pineapples have long been known as a universal symbol of welcoming and hospitality.  Its been said that after captains had traveled to the Caribbean to bring back goods, they would spear the fence post outside their home with a pineapple letting everyone know they were home safe from sea.  Anyone who knows me, knows that my love of the sea runs deep, and even though I learned of this fact after my obsession with obtaining brass pineapples began, I still feel as if this bit of history that I unearthed sort of seals me to this whole pineapple trend-so basically me and pineapples, we are forever.

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Now I know I’ve pretty much set up this post to be all about my brass pineapples,and trust me I’m going to be flashing them around so much that you may experience temporary blindness,  BUT, I majorly scored on vacation this year, and mostly I have to show you errythang because it is awesome and plus also its all shoved onto the mantle in a conglomerate mess of awesome things.

First up, the ginger jar.  It’s.pink.  PINK! As if this fact alone wasn’t enough, it just so happens to be covered in flora and fauna and it’s just absolutely delicious, and whats more is that I bought it from my favorite family who’s shops I visit year after year when we go the Outer Banks.  I support their sea faring antiques business and they support my need to acquire more things.  Symbiosis at it’s finest. 

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A flock of Kokeshi Dolls

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These lambs are probably my favorite vacation purchase.  There aren’t any markings or labels that I can discern, though I do think they have a Lefton quality to them.  I  love their mischievous little eyes.

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And this cat.  She was love at first sight.  We didn’t exactly make eye contact, but when I saw her huge ceramic rump in the window I knew I was taking her home.  Her green eyes totally sealed the deal.  

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Do you hunt and scour the dingy depths of thrift/antique stores to find special things to take back home with you on vacation?  I love the Outer Banks and spend many of my days planning how I can make it our forever home, but in the meantime I have these special treasures that remind me of my days by the sea.  I hope you all can be so lucky to find as many special things that remind you of your favorite places.

XO-Tara

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Dining Room Revamp Part 2

I hope you all had a fabulous Valentines day-we ordered Chinese and watched The Vow-it was fabulous. 

Today I am sharing the finale to our dining room revamp!  

Our dining room table is the only piece of furniture that we kept for the new and improved space.  I’ve talked about the table before here, it’s such a solid piece and can totally withstand my two girls sitting on it (literally sitting on top of it because that’s how they do).

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girls 019Now lets talk Craigslist and the bench pictured above.  I rescued these lovelies from a playroom full of toddler jumping and marker scribbles.  Someone was practically giving them away at $40 for the pair.  I was sort of taking a gamble seeing as I had no idea how long they were, but in the end the turned out to be perfect.  Now while the benches themselves were cheap, the vinyl to reupholster them certainly was not!  I went with a more expensive vinyl that feels soft and buttery, and has a lovely stretch that cheaper marine vinyl does not have-it was $35 a yard, but I we (my mom purchased 5 yards for me as part of my xmas gift) held out for sales and ended up spending about $160 for 8 yards-which sure beats the $280ish dollars it would have been.  I don’t have a lot of photos from the reupholstering process because we had no idea what we were doing, and it would be like the blind leading the blind- we don’t know two shits about upholstering.  What I will tell you is that for first timers I think we really did a great job! 067

We had to remove the bench from the frame to reupholster it, and in order to get the benches to scoot under the table we sawed off part of the arm.  To conceal the staples, and add some interest we added gold upholstery tacks.  And remember when I talked about painting the wing-back chairs following that great tutorial from Hyphen Interiors?  Well, I did.  I can’t say I’m thrilled with the results, which is why I’m purchasing black slipcovers instead.  You can see from one of the photos that they are a little streaky, and the fabric does feel similar to a stiff canvas-but it’s just not comfortable.  And talk about lint magnets! 

Without any further jabbering, here is another before and after:

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I removed the wing-back so you could see the benches and the rugs underneath the table

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The gorgeous over-dyed rugs (they didn’t have one quite big enough so I bought two and put them together) are from Rugs USA.  I cannot find this particular rug (the Kimberly) on their site anymore, but I bought mine when they were 70% off, and they quickly sold out.  Nuloom, which I believe is the actual maker/supplier of the rug, is also sold out.  These rugs were normally around $500 a piece, and I scored two 5×8’s for $300!  They are hand tufted over-dyed wool, and the quality is absolutely amazing!  I love the way they ground the space.  

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I Love the Ikea Stockholm chandelier, the mid-century dresser, and the faux sheepskin.  All those elements together are glamorous without being over the top.

books on tableSince I decided not to put the books back into the room, I knew neat piles of books on the table would have to suffice.  This is where I read, sew, menu plan, and I needed the space to reflect that without being cluttered by books.cluttered classy

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I knew these Ranarp industrial sconces from Ikea would become very popular, and I was right because weeks after I purchased mine Country Living featured them in their magazine.  These chic clamp on spotlights add a lovely industrial/boho vibe that tempers some of the girly elements in the room. I don’t know if this happens to you, but I seem to predict trends simply based on what I’m drawn to at the moment.  It happens all the time.  Like when HGTV had a feature recently on the Benjamin Moore paint color “Hot Lips”.  I was like, “whaaaa?” My kitchen has been hot lips for over a year! 

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032Painterly fabrics are so hot right now.  I fell in love with these pillows on Etsy, but couldn’t justify the close to $100 for the two of them.  Luckily I found this pretty painterly fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics.  It’s a satin broadcloth with a lovely bit of stretch.  It is incredibly soft, and feels a bit luxurious for the price since it’s just $16 a yard.  Since I splurged on the vinyl for the benches, I went with another heavier duty sateen broadcloth to cover the window seat.

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target tabeThreshold for Target table that I scored for $23!

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Hope ya’ll enjoyed my makeover story!

XO-Tara

A Dining Room Revamp…

 After years of living in white-walled apartments I was both excited and overwhelmed at the decorating possibilities that lay before me after we purchased our 1929 bungalow.  No more horrendous brown carpet, eggshell paint, and New York City sized kitchens.  But as a self diagnosed “serial decorator” I was a little too eager to get this house looking spiffy.  I made A LOT of mistakes.  I was impatient, and on top of that we were completely broke for the first few months because I wasn’t working.  Broke AND impatient are not a good basis for any worthy design plan.  In the first week of being moved in to our new home I painted our living room a yummy shade of Pepto Bismal pink.  Then without so much as a blink, stenciled a purple Ikat pattern on the dining room walls.  It looked like I hired a 12 yr old girl to do my decorating for me.  I had some sort of ill decorating syndrome from years of living in bland apartments, which prevented me from painting or doing anything that wasn’t completely over the top-and WRONG.  Because I had never been able to choose paint colors before, I thought I was relegated to super saturated intense colors.  Why after years of being held back from decorating the way I wanted, would I choose barely there paint colors that you could hardly notice??? I wanted to make a statement-and boy did I.  

Case & point:

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Hodge Podge is the word that comes to mind when looking at this photo.  This was right before we painted the living room Lily Lavender by Benjamin Moore.  (never mind the ghost lights or the folded laundry) Once we lightened up, everything started making more sense.  I still had lots of work to do, but that was definitely my turning point.  I realized that sometimes less is MORE.   And as much as I still hate things being “undone”, I understand now that it takes time, and I think the bottom photo proves that I learned my lesson.  

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 Now you might think I’m just getting ready to share a dining room overhaul with you-and I am, but I’m also sharing a lot more…Growth.  I like to think of this as a sort of decorating coming of age tale if you will.  I’ll be thirty-one this year.  I’ve spent four years growing into myself-in this house that I adore, and this dining room signifies not only personal growth, but the growth I’ve experienced as a decorator.  The design was well thought out, yet also instinctual.  It’s bohemian, and glamorous, and super comfy.  It’s truly a space to “hang out” in, and that’s exactly what we do each night as we put on Frank Sinatra, light the candles, and enjoy a meal together.  

I’m sharing this revamp (more like complete overhaul) in three stages.  It would be far too much to cram all into one post, and I want to compare each area with the before photos.  So suck it

I’m not going to lie, I nearly had a panic attack when we started painting over the Ikat, but I instantly knew I would love having a dark and cozy dining room.  The paint color is Mark Twain grey by Valspar.

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I removed the bar cart from the living room, and opted instead for this tabletop version.  I am still on the hunt for the perfect tray to sit underneath.  books DR close up

I nabbed the mid-century dresser on Craigslist for $70.  The brand is Lenoir House, which was a division of Broyhill.  Lenoir House sold the companies more modest priced pieces. I’m also still (after all these years) thinking of a way to disguise that plywood covered hole in the floor which use to be where the coal burning furnace was.

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The floor lamp is from Target, and the shade is covered in a cheapie Ikea stripe, which I also used for some euro pillows on the window seat.  I like the unconventional pairing of the table lamp on one side, with the floor lamp on the other.  The large oval mirror (also Ikea) reflects so much light and prettiness from the rest of the room.  

As with most things, it’s not 100% finished-I will undoubtedly change things, but the bones of this room are so right that I imagine it will stay this way for quite a while.  

Xo-Tara

Use What You’ve Got…

As discussed in my previous post, you know, the one I posted weeks ago?! I had high hopes for the mantle going into 2014.  I’m sure the fact that so much time and attention goes into planning my mantle decor seems ludicrous to most people.  But, it honestly was about more than that.  Sure, I’m an obsessive decorator who’s dreams consist of wallpaper samples and paint swatches, but the obsession over the mantle wasn’t merely about decor, it was more about being a showcase of inspiration.  I am an avid resolution maker, and not just each new year.  ALL.THE.TIME.  I crave change like a Big Mac.  It’ s a blessing, and curse.  Now, obviously the mantle didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned, and that is OK too.  I did buy a few prints that I had envisioned for it, but I ended up liking them better in our new and improved dining room, which I will share soon.  That’s the thing about planning, you can’t be too rigid because then you don’t allow room for things to happen organically, and no one wants their decor to feel forced and stuffy.  I ended up using things I already had to decorate the mantle after the holidays, with the exception of the white vase which I scored at Target on clearance.  I bought two, and I am kind of in love with them! While it’s not filled with the things I had originally intended, it is inspirational, and it doesn’t cost anything to decorate with things you already have!  I have a framed card that Ava made me for Mother’s Day, lots of family photos that I clipped on using the glitter pins that held the advent calender, and I even kept a few paper fans up there, because they are fun, and add a touch of whimsy that makes me smile.  
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Vintage Light Reflectors & Holiday Sadness

*Update* I wrote this post weeks ago, but got caught up in a dining room revamp, and then the holiday hubbub swirled in around me like a cyclone, and plus during that whole time my washer was broken.  It.Was.Hell.  I persevered, and decided on sharing this anyway, because as you will see later, it’s completely different than how I had planned it to be-and that’s OK.  It was a happy-organic process, and I succeeded in what I set out to do, which is avoid the depressive state that happens after the Holidays when all the sparkly, pretty things get put away.

Please tell me that I am not alone in the fact that I experience a profound depressed state after the holidays are over.  After its no longer customary to throw glitter on everything, and eat sugar cookies for breakfast.   Putting away the lights, the wreaths, the tiny reindeer, the Christmas villages, all the shiny baubles-it’s all just too much.  It’s not just the putting away of these “things” that is difficult, it’s the spirit and wonder of the season that seems to go into hibernating with all of it…that’s the problem.  This year I am obsessing about the mantle, I know-I know, first world problems.  I have a game plan and it involves a string of vintage reflector lights.  Martha mother effin Stewart has done went and sent me into an E-bay bidding frenzy.  She is to blame for the countless hours I have spent on E-bay-furiously searching for the perfect set of vintage light reflectors.  The one page feature, titled “Powered Flowers,” had me swooning, and I knew I absolutely had to hunt these down.  Why, you ask?  To add to my already outrageous amount of Christmas decorations?  NO!  Guess again…These lights are part 1 of my Happiness After The Holidays plan.  2014 is going to start off with shiny lights, apothecary jars full of confetti and glitter, inspiring typography prints, and lots of pretty blooms!  It’s a good plan, right?

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After days of searching, and many bidding wars.  Yes, WARS, (Some of these are very sought after, and can go for quite a bit of moolah) I found the perfect set (pictured above).  I got a 92 piece set of vintage light reflectors for $15, which is amazing considering a 49 piece set had just went for $50!!  I got lucky!  Originally when I saw them in the magazine, I was thinking of a DIY version, but Tiffanie Turner from the Corner Blog beat me to it.  She came up with this amazing DIY tutorial for reflector lights, and they are absolutely beautiful.  I recently stumbled on her blog, and I fell in love.  Her crepe paper flowers are spectacular!

So here is my blueprint for trying to dodge the post holiday slump:

This print from Rifle Paper Co. has been calling my name, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy it for le mantle.

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These prints from Etsy seller Alphonnsine also need to be mine:

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I think these prints layered with a few photos, stacks of books with bright spines, confetti filled apothecary jars, colorful vintage reflector lights around the mirror, and fresh flowers are going to be better than Prozac! Obvs, when I’m done I’ll totes share the finished product.

XO-Tara

Ohhh, deer…

Hello Lovelies!

Its time for me to over-share pictures of my Holiday Mantle!  I typically am not one for themes, but this years holiday mantle definitely has one.  Can you guess what it is?

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That’s right guys, this holiday mantle is deertastic!

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Deer antlers, and faux deer heads are everywhere, and have been “trending” for quite some time, so it’s only natural that I (or anyone) would want to cover their mantle with these charming little deer figurines.  This magical holiday season is the perfect time to try and add some whimsy to our lives with a deer-centric holiday mantle.  The mantle is quite simply comprised of tiny deer (new & vintage), bottle brush trees, the same paper fans I used in the Christmas tree, and white string lights.  Some of the trees are just the cheapie ones that you can literally get anywhere, but I added sequins and little embellishments to jazz them up.  The green deer are from Target, the felt deer are from Khols, and the chrome deer head is from Meijer.

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mantlelike We’ve lived in our house for three years, prior to that we had a small apartment in which neither a full size tree would fit, and also one lacking a mantle with which to hang stockings on.  I made our mismatched stockings the year we bought our house.  They mean as much to me now, as they did then.  Finally I have a home where traditions can weave their delicate threads through the heart of our growing family.  I love how the stockings are all representative of each of our personalities, well, except my husbands! I suppose you could say the polka dots represent the fun kitchy-ness of 50’s culture, but that’s a crock of shit! My stocking is vintage chintz, Ava’s is a crazy floral pattern called Larkspur In Bloom from Michael Miller Fabrics, and Sadie’s is a newly sewn velvet leopard one .

http://instagr.am/p/XIjF0/Now lets talk about all the shiny baubles on this years holiday wreath.  I’m sure you’ve seen those vintage ornament wreaths on Pinterest.  There are other ornament wreaths that just use cheapo ornaments, but I’ve had my heart set on a vintage one for a while.  However, I was unwilling to throw down a lot of cash for one, so mine is a thrifty compromise.  

I had to run out for some “filler” ornaments, but honestly everything I needed to make this wreath I had on hand already.  It’s not all vintage because frankly, my collection isn’t that large (yet)-but its beautiful and suits my magpie sensibilities.  Making the wreath is simple, really.  You just hot glue the ornaments onto a wreath form.  Some DIY versions have a specific method for gluing them on, but per my usual cluster fuck fashion,  I hot glued them on rather willy nilly!  I did manage to take a series of photos to show you the progression, so all is not lost.

IMG_2070Ohh, make sure you have lots of iced coffee too!  It helps with the tediousness of this process.

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Your not limited to ornaments either.  As you can see I added vintage jewelry to my wreath, as well as some beaded garland, and cute little buttons from an old issue of Mollie Makes.  Go wild!

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I hope this gives you lots of holiday inspiration!

XO-Tara

Decor Of Christmas Past

Hello sweeties!

Since I’m fairly new to the blogging scene, I thought today I would share with you some old photos of my holiday decor, before I post this years holiday fabulous-ness.  IMG_0519

I got all these little houses in a set for $4 at the thrift store one year, and repainted them in bright fun color schemes.  I love the addition of the vintage Hot Wheels, it just endorses the whole little village vibe.  I want to go to there.

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I made the joy to the world ornament for Ava’s teacher last year, along with 26 others-each with her classmates names on them.  I used my trusty Cricut machine to cut out all the letters and Mod Podged them to the ornaments.  Andplusalso, I totally tried the chalkboard wrapping paper idea that was floating around on Pinterest last year, and loved it! So fun! 

Xo-Tara